12 January 2016

(If Only I Were) Lost in a Book

I’m a reader, but I can’t find my way back into books.

I tell myself it’s because I’m too tired, or too busy, or not in the right frame of mind. And then I remember: books are my escape. Books are my safe place, where I can hide from the world and heal. Books may not be as scientifically helpful as your body healing while you sleep, but they let me step away from my worries.

So why do I have umpteen books on my makeshift nightstand started, but collecting dust? Why does my nighttime ritual involve me rolling into bed, intending on reading even a sentence, if that’s as long I can keep my eyes open, but going to set my alarm on my phone and instead looking at social media? Why won’t I let myself escape into my books?

If I were back in therapy, she would remind me to notice just that, notice my feelings at that point, and then later wonder about it all. Doing something about it will come later, she’d remind me as gently or strongly as I needed to hear it right then.

So this is me noticing it. I know I asked the questions two paragraphs up, but I’m going to put them on hold. I’m noticing that I’m not able to open books like I used to. I feel - as I do often at the moment - like I’m sticking out my tongue a little (maybe behind my back, where I can’t get caught), thumbing my nose at my able self who knows she can cope better with reading in her life.

“I don’t wanna!”

I’m more comfortable at the moment in my state of disrepair, my state of discomfort, than I am seeking comfort and safety in the written word. Even to put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard feels like I’m challenging my current state. Today, wanting to journal for a few minutes daily, but not knowing where I’ve still got the what feels like dozens of empty notebooks I’ve bought along the way packed from our July 2015 move, I wandered into Paper Source. “I’ll buy a journal,” I thought, so there are no excuses.

I walked out without one.

That one’s pages aren’t wide enough. There are too many words in that one. $21.95 for a Christian Lacroix gold embossed journal? Tempting, but I’m apparently feeling way too practical and frugal for that one.

I walked out without a tool I know would help me.

The same goes for books. That topic, while fascinating, is a non-fiction work, and I can’t handle that right now. This one, which H has urged me to read for years and I’ve started and am enjoying? I haven’t opened it in a week. Nothing is jumping off the shelves and shelves and shelves of volumes we have - a sanctuary, if I’d let it be one - in our family room.

I won’t use a tool I know would help me.

I won’t solve it here. I don’t want to. But I do know that, while I didn’t buy a notebook today, I put fingers to keyboard, and I wrote. I took one step, one as sure as the ones I used to march in the blustery chill of a day. And that little walk helped.

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